|What do women want?
||[Jan. 24th, 2009|10:49 pm]
Everything, nothing, maybe in turquoise! (If it's about sex!)|
It's always been believed that men will do anything - to anything. Whereas women only have very specific and select preferences.
New research turns that idea on it's head - they found women had sexual responses subconsciously to almost everything they were shown, despite them reporting the opposite!
Who'd have thought it?
"Among women, the claims they make about being attracted to something do not line up with their genital responses, visa versa with the men, their minds agree with their objective responses."
SUMMARY (it's long, but at least it ain't 8 pages!):
Carries out experiments on arousal of men and women in response to different types of pornographic footage (straight m+w, gay men, gay women, masturbating, bonobo sex, naked man on a beach, naked woman working out).
Participants were given a meter to rate their own arousal, but also had devices set around or in their genitals to measure blood flow (to see how the two correspond).
Men on average respond in "category specific" ways: straight men respond to straight porn, gay women, masturbating women, exercising women-- gay men respond to gay men, masturbating men, naked man on beach. Men not aroused by bonobo sex. Participant ratings of arousal using the meter tend to match blood flow in genitals.
Women on average respond to every sort of sexual stimulus, including bonobo sex, and respond more to the exercising naked woman than the walking naked man. Especially with straight women, the arousal rating by meter rarely matched the blood flow in their genitals (it was much lower). All women claimed no arousal from bonobo sex (even with increased blood flow to genitals at the same time).
Chivers also includes male-to-female transsexuals in one series of experiments and trans-women (both homo and heterosexual) respond in "categorical" ways, suggesting inborn system of arousal rather than a cultural implication. No definitive answers yet. “The horrible reality of psychological research,” Chivers said, “is that you can’t pull apart the cultural from the biological.”
Chivers is attempting to decipher why women do not rate their arousal as high as their bodies show it to be. Possible explanations: culture suppression, no visible reminder (since vagina is internal, penis external, penis is highly visible) means women are less in-tune with their arousal, women with bad feelings about their bodies may unconsciously suppress their connection with their arousal, or genital arousal/lubrication in women may occur in any situation where they sense vaginal penetration may occur in order to protect against tissue damage.
This explains the bonobo sex reaction, as chimps somewhat resemble humans. Next study is involving audio scripts predicting different scenarios; Chivers predicts greatest arousal in women from scenarios involving sex with strangers.
RICHARD LIPPA: From surveys, suggests that men w/high sex drives demonstrate a polarized pattern of attraction (straight men will less often be aroused by viewing gay male sex but will be significantly more aroused by women), but straight women w/high sex drives experience more attraction to both sexes.
LISA DIAMOND: Looks at publicized relationships of women, and studies lesbian/bisexual women. Hypothesizes that for women intimacy is driven by emotional connection, sexuality of women very malleable based on who they best connect with. May be due to unique mammalian neurotransmitter called oxytocin.
MARTA MEANA: "The female body looks the same whether aroused or not." Female body always holds the suggestion of sex, which sends a charge through both men and women. Thinks the role of being desired/narcississm at the core of women's arousal. For women, "being desired is the orgasm." Women like to watch other women perform nude/in skimpy clothing and imagine themselves in the same position, being wanted as badly.
Did study where men and women watched straight pornography. Men looked at faces/bodies of women almost exclusively. Women looked at both sexes: faces of the men, bodies of the women.
Meana (like Chivers) thinks there are 2 systems of female sexuality: for evolutionary/cultural reasons, women place high value on closeness/longevity of relationships. “But it’s wrong to think that because relationships are what women choose they’re the primary source of women’s desire.”
Thinks it takes a greater jolt to get women interested in sex; in analogy, men will eat about any cake they come across, but a woman needs a fancy cake to consider taking a bite. In a committed relationship the woman no longer feels desired because her spouse is trapped in choosing her, not making a conscious decision.
Between 1/3 and 1/2 of women have erotic fantasies of rape, often during intercourse, w/1 in 10 fantasizing about sexual assault at least once per month. Meana cautions against "rape fantasy" language, "fantasies of submission." Says she needs different words because the pleasures of the imagined are not equal to the terrors of the real. Arousal is not consent.
About rape fantasies, Chivers also says, "It's the wish to be beyond will, beyond thought. To be all in the midbrain."
Conclusions: women very complicated, hard to arouse, hard to make a "woman's Viagra" because for women physical arousal/lubrication does not connect with desire.